Dell PC Activation question


  1. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
       #1

    Dell PC Activation question


    Hi, I have a Dell PC that I have done a lot of clean installations on for one reason or another...mostly because its something I choose to do quite regularly. Being an OEM PC I wasn't given a Product Activation key when I purchased the PC from Dell. It has always been automatically read from the motherboard. However on the last two occasions when I have performed a clean installation an Activation code has been asked for. Because its a PC that came with Windows 10 pre installed and has been activated lots of times before Ive just selected the box that says I don't have a Product Key and when the installation has finished the activation has been done automatically on both occasions so its not a problem anyway.
    Im just curious why things might have changed and Ive now started to get the Enter a Product Activation code screen?
    Does Microsoft place a limit on the number of times that Activation is done automatically without seeing the Activation screen during a clean installation even on OEM PC's where the product key is embedded on the motherboard?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #2

    A couple of days ago, I read that 8 was a semi-magic number related to activations.

    I can't recall the context or exact situation in which that might occur, but that may be what you've run up against.

    Do you think you've done around 10 clean installs so far?
      My Computer


  3. Posts : 25,034
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #3

    sportsfan148 said:
    ...Because its a PC that came with Windows 10 pre installed and has been activated lots of times before Ive just selected the box that says I don't have a Product Key and when the installation has finished the activation has been done automatically on both occasions so its not a problem anyway....

    Yes, because W10 has been installed and activated in the past this machine already has a digital licence stored on Microsoft's activation servers. It is this that activates you Windows after the clean install.

    Im just curious why things might have changed and Ive now started to get the Enter a Product Activation code screen?
    Does Microsoft place a limit on the number of times that Activation is done automatically without seeing the Activation screen during a clean installation even on OEM PC's where the product key is embedded on the motherboard?

    There shouldn't be a limit for activating from an embedded OEM key when clean installing on the PC with that OEM key. The key is a lifetime licence to install Windows on that PC.

    The real question is why Setup isn't finding an OEM key in the bios, that would be the only reason for it to ask for a key. Have you made any bios changes? Or has it ever been back to Dell to have the motherboard replaced? Generally a factory replacement board would not have had the embedded key transferred into its bios.

    You can read your embedded key with ShowKeyPlus
      My Computers


  4. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #4

    ignatzatsonic said:
    A couple of days ago, I read that 8 was a semi-magic number related to activations.

    I can't recall the context or exact situation in which that might occur, but that may be what you've run up against.

    Do you think you've done around 10 clean installs so far?
    Hi mate. Thanks for your feedback. Ive definitely done more than 10 but Im not sure of the exact number

    - - - Updated - - -

    Bree said:
    There shouldn't be a limit for activating from an embedded OEM key when clean installing on the PC with that OEM key. The key is a lifetime licence to install Windows on that PC.

    The real question is why Setup isn't finding an OEM key in the bios, that would be the only reason for it to ask for a key. Have you made any bios changes? Or has it ever been back to Dell to have the motherboard replaced? Generally a factory replacement board would not have had the embedded key transferred into its bios.

    You can read your embedded key with ShowKeyPlus
    No I haven't made any changes whatsoever to the BIOS...all left on Default Settings. The PC has never had any issues so has never had anything repaired or changed by Dell either. When this happened a few weeks ago for the first time I rang Dell to ask them why the Activation Screen had appeared on this occasion and informed him that I had been asked for the Product Key. The Dell technician said he didn't really know but maybe it was just a technical glitch with the Microsoft Servers. It was my curiosity which caused me to clean install again a couple of weeks later to see if it happened again and once again the Activation screen appeared!! Like you say I dont know why, all of a sudden, Setup doesn't now seem to be automatically finding the OEM key in the BIOS at the beginning of Setup when performing a clean installation. It is however finding the Activation Key by the time Windows clean installation has finished because it just says Windows is activated with a digital licence linked to my Microsoft Account. The Dell technician said that its nothing to be concerned about because it has obviously reset itself because when Windows checks for Activation again it finds it automatically without any input from me.
    What do you think?

    PS Thanks for the ShowKeyPlus suggestion
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 25,034
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #5

    sportsfan148 said:
    .. a few weeks ago for the first time I rang Dell to ask them why the Activation Screen had appeared on this occasion and informed him that I had been asked for the Product Key. The Dell technician said he didn't really know but maybe it was just a technical glitch with the Microsoft Servers. ...
    ....What do you think?
    I think the technical glitch was in Setup reading the OEM key from the bios. The 'Microsoft servers' comment from the Dell technician is a red herring, Setup should be able to find and use an embedded key whether or not you are connected to the internet when you did the clean install. That's Step 6 in the tutorial...

    If this is an OEM PC that has a valid product key embedded in its UEFI firmware chip, then you will not be prompted to enter a product key. Windows 10 will automatically use the embedded product key if its valid....
    Clean Install Windows 10

    But sometimes it doesn't see the embedded key, or so I have seen reported....
    Windows 10 install media not reading my Windows 8 OEM embeded key.

    I don't clean install anywhere near as often as you do, but I do have two Dell's with embedded keys, one for W8.1 Home, the other W10 Pro. I have clean installed on both, and both found and used the OEM key. This is the one that has a W10 Pro key.

    Dell PC Activation question-w10-oem-key-used-setup.png

    The one with a W8.1 Home key is a bit of a pain really, I subsequently purchased W10 Pro for it, but if I were to do another clean install it would automatically install Home, which I would then have to upgrade to pro with the generic Pro key.
    Last edited by Bree; 15 Jun 2020 at 13:40.
      My Computers


  6. Posts : 985
    Windows 10 Home 21H1
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Thanks for the links and the info Bree. It has always read the embedded key from the BIOS for me too until a few weeks ago. Only on the last two occasions has it failed to read the embedded key, instead asking for a product key for activation. So I then select I dont have a product key and the next screen asks me to select what version of Windows 10 I want to install where I select Windows 10 Home. When the installation is finished I immediately check in Windows settings and it has automatically been activated with a digital licence linked to my Microsoft Account. Its a mystery to me why this has just started to occur for the first time in 18 months after doing many clean installations without ever being asked for a product key to Activate before.
      My Computer


 

  Related Discussions
Our Sites
Site Links
About Us
Windows 10 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 10" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 22:20.
Find Us




Windows 10 Forums